Friday, April 29, 2011

I'll tell you a little secret...

When I was younger I was a huge royalist...I know...hard to believe right!!!!I bought every book there was on the royals, but mostly about Lady Diana. My dream was to have a cup of tea with her one day. I watched her wedding in absolute awe. She was just so beautiful and such a wonderful human, so loving and caring, and the fact that she came from a sinilar profession as I did probably had alot to do with it!!!
I have long since gotten rid of my royal books and I'm not much of a royalist these days, though I was devastated the day she died and remember exactly where I was standing when I heard the news...
well...today that special lady's little boy is getting married..William was the first portrait I ever drew...the one where he is dressed in the little puffy white suit with blue trim ..lol..i digress!!!. In fact, that pencil  drawing has long gone too...but what I will be doing is watching that brave little boy who walked all that way at his mum's funeral, now an adult, have the happiest day of his life...i will be watching the Royal Wedding tonight...maybe even partaking in a wine to celebrate!!!!
I hope the day is smooth, no dramas from morons, and I hope Kate's dress looks spectacular on her...I hope love prevails with this union and they live HAPPILY EVER AFTER...I mean...what girl doesn't like a happy ending.
Will you be watching it????

Until next time
lots of it
Mandy
xxx

Sunday, April 24, 2011

happy easter

Hi there ...I sewed up these cute little rabbits...i made one for jacob and maddie, and made one each for the 2 new babies that visited my house today, my nephew and my great nephew...think that's what you call him..
thehandmadehome gave me the idea, slightly not as wonderful as hers...lol..but none the less i love them still...so do the twins and the mummas of the babies...
 
i know i have posted this before but i thought i'd try putting it up again on a cute decorating blog for link purposes..lol...i like to try new things...what can i say!!!i love this and love how it looks up, believe me, the photo doesn't do it justice...this will be going into maddies room when the eeaster period is over and we redo her room...addicted to decorating has a little decor link up happening...i'm adding mine to it, maybe you have something you could add too...


ok...well, i hope your easter was filled with lots of love and laughter
until next time
lots of it
Mandy
xxx

Friday, April 22, 2011

Simple Garland to Make, and my little birdie..

Hi there
Hope Good Friday is fabulous for you...I am up having my traditional quiet coffee and hot cross buns for Easter Friday...
I have been known to paint little birds...well..I thought I'd try my hand at sewing some...I got to make one...it was quite quick and easy, but i did put the string in the wrong spot...the next one will be better balanced..it's not too bad though!!!


I also made some simple garland...all I did was get some pretty twine in a pale green colour, and threaded some buttons on it evenly spaced, they stayed there without anything else being done to them...so SIMPLE...

Also, over at POPPYTALK...I found a cute little tutorial on how to make this little bunting out of old cereal boxes...well...I made it simpler so the twins could do it, just used paper and glue...how  CUTE does it look...great job Jacob and Maddie...

Finally...I have made another garland, over the next couple of months I will try and get a few things made and place them on etsy...you never know right, and in all honesty, I have nothing to lose...I just love pretty garlands, I made 3 for the new babies in our family, I have made an Easter one and now a spare one...they are quite addictive...lol...


Until next time
happy Easter
and lots of it
love that is!!!
Mandy
xxx

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Bunting...




Hi there  beautiful people....
Today I have made some easter bunting, well, it's actually multipurposed as I will give it to maddie when easter is over and she can pop it into her bedroom...i have made bunting before but today i decided to add very simple flowers cut out and hand stitched on adding a little pink button...this is the first time i have used bias binding too, it made it so much quicker...and i have actually cut our enough of the pretty pinks to make another bunting....maybe thinking of putting some on etsy...i'll see how kind time is to me...
still some more easter projects up my sleeve, so hopefully i'll post some other pretties very soon..
until next time
lots of it
Mandy
xxx

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Favs...

Over the last couple of years I have done alot of different crafts and arts...i really like doing bits of everything, scrapbooking probably the one i do the most because i just love photos and love my family and think scrapbooking is one of the best ways to preserve memories...
i thought i'd do a blog post of my favourite things, besides my family shots, of the things i have created...
here goes...no words, just photos,
















The Beach





With eyes wide open

Standing on the beach

Waves trickling along the sand

Just out of reach.





Taking one step forward

Then another one

Running back so quicky

Beginning to have fun.





Shoes and socks are off now

Sand between the toes

Venturing a little closer

Confidence grows.





One more step closer

Foam tickles the skin

Just one last step

and finally in.





Kicking up heels

Splashing water everywhere

Jumping and squeeling

Breathing in sea air.









Mandy Snow


Maybe there is a challenge there...lol....why not put up a post of all your own favourite stuff you've done..i would really love to see it....i still have all my published pages to go, which are probably the things i have created that i am most proud of...
until next time
lots of it
Mandy
xxx

Monday, April 11, 2011

If life gives you lemons....

Make lemon butter...
We heve a lemon tree...it's not huge yet, but it has a few lemons on it that sometimes go off because we don't use many lemons. So, I went internet searching for a great lemon butter recipe. I haven't made lemon butter ever, but I always buy it at fetes and shows..it's just too yummy on hot toast.

So, I went down the street and bought a glass bowl to sit at the top of my pots...BUT...it was too small and didn't sit on top of the pot, so, I whipped out a glass pie dish and placed it on top of a pot of boiling , well simmering actually, water... Then placed in

4 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar

It doesn't get overly hot, but if you constantly whisk it the sugar will dissolve.

Once it does, about 10 minutes all up, and I didn't constantly whisk, you then add


1/2  cup fresh lemon juice
finely grated zest of 1 lemon( their recipe called for 2 teaspoons)
125 grams...which is half a small block of butter, chopped into small pieces

Now you whisk this , quite constantly, until the butter melts and it thickens, close to 15 to 20 minutes.

Once its thick I took it off the pot and let it cool a bit, then poured it into some sterilised mocconna coffee jars.

So easy and so delicious...

Thanks to best recipes for the recipe...its delicious!!!!

Until next time
lots of it
Mandy
xxx

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Jacob and Maddie's Story Final Part

You can find part one HERE

Part 2 HERE
Part 3 HERE
Part 4 HERE
Part 5 HERE


Five am. Things were progressively worse. The doctors decided that the ventilator wasn't working and that she needed to go back onto the other one. The same apprehension went through my body. Not again! That ventilator was our last hope. What now?
 When the ventilator was swapped back Maddie's oxygen levels began to rise. They continued to rise until they got to 85.% Generally not a good level, but for her, at that moment...it was wonderful!!! The doctors assumed that the oscellating ventilator must have shaken some mucus plugs out of her tiny lungs, enough for them to be working a little better.

The doctors were so excited. Raymond and I were in raptures. I guess the relief was so overpowering. I began to think she was going to make it.

It was still touch and go for a long time. She had fluid throughout her body...her organs were failing...the sepsis was still present. But as the days went by, she got better and better. The drugs became less and less. It was so relieviving when the paralysing drugs were stopped. That meant she could open her eyes. The first time she groggily opened her eyes and looked at me face it felt like my heart literally soared. The ventilator was stopped...and ...she coped! Her lungs were still quite consolidated with mucus, and she had air pockets in the lining of her lungs from the continual pressure of the ventilators, but that should heal with time.


Jacob, Maddie my husband and I spent just over a week in the isolation ward( as rsv is contagious). It was so exciting to have them back together again. They both had a photo of the other on the side of their crib the whole time, a little thing I thought might help them feel as though they were with the other. but they were really back together now. Maddie still had rapid breathing and a very fast heart rate, but the doctors said that was part of their recovery. She was slowly weaned off oxygen too. This was a huge relief, as we were told she would probably go home needing it. I was extremely wary of the monitors coming off her as these were my assurance that things were ok. I coped without them, but more importantly Maddie coped.

On July 26th, my birthday,  2001, I took my babies home. I don't recall sleeping much of those first few weeks home. My body was used to only resting  over the last 4 weeks anyway. I vigilantly sat, stood or rested beside them every night...I think I ate. But I coped. I can't believe it, but I did!

I am so proud of Jacob and Maddie. They went through so much. How such tiny little bodies fought against such an immense illness is beyond me. Even one doctor told us to go and buy a lottery ticket...you see every year the children's hospital loses a baby or two from rsv...and our babies were it that year!!! But they made it, and we already knew we had won the lottery!

I have such hopes and dreams for them. They were obviously meant to be here for a reason. But, mostly I am thankful. That they are here. I don't know what the future will hold for them Some brain damage could have occurred. Their lungs may never be the same. But you know what???My babies defied everything that should have happened. I have faith they will be ok. Oh...I now have a great photo of all my kids in our entry....one af all of them...my precious miracles..








So,,,this story was written about 9 years ago, and we know now that some damage occured to the twins...They both have reactive airways and get very sick whenevr they have a virus, Maddie nearly drowns in mucus at night when she is ill, and they both have around ten weeks each year off school because of their lungs. Maddie has hearing loss from the low oxygen, which killed some of the nerve endings in her ears, so she wears hearing aids, she needed occupational thearapy and physio therapy, she was late to do many milestones and still suffers with receptive and expressive language, but she is getting better...and guess what..SHE IS AVERAGE...do you know how exciting that is, compared to what could have been!!!

Jacob is home schooled because of how quickly he stops breathing, his title is acute, life threatening spasmodic croup..like an  anaphylactic response to viruses...life is tough yeah, but I tell you what...I'd rather be visiting doctors and specialists, than visiting their graves...


So, there it is...if you have followed my story to here..I thankyou from the bottom of my heart.....
until next time
hug your babies, even though they may be gigantic now
lots of it
Mandy
xxx

Friday, April 8, 2011

Here's what I have been working on...

Hi there...well, we are officially in holiday mode and already Maddie has whinged that she is bored and its only been an hour since she came home from school...lol...our easter break is 2 weeks long...i love it..the weather is perfect, just getting a little cooler at nights, toasting marshmellows on our little outdoor chimanea...gotta love it...
here are a few moleskine pages....


this one is just swishes of water colour and then doodled over the top

 This one has only just begun, using my water soluable crayons...lol....just noticed her eyes are lopsided...oh well!!!

here is a page i just felt like doing...i have to thank...mmm...maybe nicole again for these gorgeous butterflies....


well, hope you enjoyed the glimpse of a few pages from my moleskine, which I LOVE!!!!I love looking at other peoples art journals..the great thing is because they're in a book you can keep them forever and not lose them on bits of papers...
until next time
lots of it
Mandy
xxx

so wanna win this...lol...

Head off over here if you want to win this...I am feeling in the mood for a bit of sewing.....

http://raggedystation.blogspot.com/2011/04/giveaway.html

The rest of Jacob and Maddie's story will follow tonight....
lots of it
Mandy
xxx

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jacob and Maddie's Story Part 5

Part 1 HERE

Part 2 HERE

Part 3 HERE

Part 4 HERE






We waited for  them to turn on the machine, that we thought, would take our baby's life. I was tense, almost vomiting. I looked at my husband and shook my head and mumbled.
"She's not going to make it, is she?"
He just shook his head and looked down.
My baby, my beautiful baby girl...oh Maddie, you haven't even smiled yet! You were nearly there. Maybe a couple more days and you would have been there. Now you'll never get to smile. What a loss of such a beautiful life. All the things you won't get to do. My body is about to explode.

I don't recall even breathing when the ventilator was turned on. Would it take seconds, minutes, hours?

After minutes her sats began to drop. Only one per cent at first, then another and another. I tried to remain hopeful...maybe they would go up. She may just be adjusting to the new machine. Her sats steadily dropped as the hours passed. Several emergencies occurred when her sats dropped down to the fifties (they should be %100). The doctors would race in and frantic drug episodes would follow. I really learnt to appreciate adrenalin that night, amongst other drugs, that would pull her through each time. At one stage, Maddie had 14 different drugs being pumped into her. I am generally apprehensive about any drug. What are the side effects...you know thw drill. But not this night. If there was a drug that could prolong her life, and gave us a glimmer of hope, I wanted her to have it.

The night becomes agony. I can barely breathe. She is not going to make it. I panic! Oh God! I don't even have a photo of all my 6 children together. No memory of our family with the eight of us. How can we afford a beautiful funeral for her? I should have joined that funeral fund.

Her oxygen levels were still dropping. I won't express my milk tonight..I have kept it up the whole time they have been sick. How will I tell the other kids their baby sister has died?

More hours of agony watching her die slowly pass...I don't think I can handle the pain of it any longer, and momentaril,y, it crosses my mind o tell the doctors to just let her go. Just turn off the machines and let her go in peace. ( A thought which I now suffer so much guilt over.)Then I tried to convince myself that she wasn't as bad as I thought. So I should let her fight. She's too beautiful to die.

Dr Anne appears. It's ten to three in the morning.
"Are you religious?"
"I don't know...why?"
"Would you like us to call someone so you can have Maddie christened?"
Oh God! I don't want to think of it!I looked at Raymond and started sobbing. I shook my head. That would mean defeat. That I've given up. I can't do that! I don't want to make it real...my baby girl dying...I couldn't do it..I couldn't face the reality of it yet...
"No thank you..." I spoke for both of us. I couldn't admit defeat yet. I wasn't ready for it.
"OK then...do you want anything...a cuppa?"
"Yes thanks..."..then I realise things must be bad if a dr is offering me a cuppa.

I want to call my sister and get her to bring the other kids up so they can see Maddie one more time...alive...so they can say goodbye to their little sister. I suddenly want all my family to come and say goodbye to Maddie before she dies. Don't be silly...it's too late..think medically...stay detached...be positive...

I ask," Will this prolonged low oxygen have an effect on her brain?"
"Let's just get through the night first."
More confirmation things are bad.

I need to sing to her. I love to sing lullabies to my babies..I might never get the chance to do it again. I'm anxious and slightly embarrassed. A nurse is close by typing  her observations of Maddie into a computer. It's now or never. I walk up to her crib She looks terrible. I so gently touch her forearm and bend, so my lips are close to her ear. This is the closest I have been to her in a very long time...she looks terrible...I begin to sob..

" Rain drops on roses....and whiskers on kittens..." I'm barely breathing. My voice is raspy, and I suddenly can't believe I am going to lose her. The tears are teaming down my face. One falls on her shoulder. I hope it didn't hurt her.

"Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens..." I hum the next bit..I can't finish...I look at her...I am never taking my eyes off her....


Okies....
my goodness...I remember so vividly...
what a painful time....
until next time
part 6 will  follow tomorrow...the last part of the twins story....
lots of it
Mandy
xxx

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Mixed media canvas...


Hi there

A blog that I regularly visit has a post where she is after some hand made goodies to sell for a fundraiser...A little girl, the age of my twins,10, had a stroke and the family have alot of medical bills, in particular that of the physio that is required to get Lizzy back on track...Leslie, over at words of me project is organising it...I said I would help out and this is what I have done, really my first try at alot of things...I had alot of fun and let me tell you there are alot of layers on this one!!!!
The two hearts beat as one can mean many things and I hope that everyone can see something in it. I also placed little mirrors on so the hearts can represent the person looking at the piece.
I know its not great, but it was made with love and I hope thast it can help out in some little way...
ps..think I am going to have to make another one because Maddie loves it...lol...
until next time
lots of it
Mandy
xxx

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Maddie and Jacob's Story Part 4

Part 1 Is HERE

Part 2 Is HERE

Part 3 Is HERE



So much happened those first 5 days of the babies being on life support. It went by in a tired sleepless blur, that felt surreal. On day 6 in the ICU the doctors thought Jacob might be ready for his ventilator to be taken off. (extubated). They don't like people being on them for too long, as it becomes harder to take them off. As soon as the breathing tube was taken out I noticed that he was really struggling to breathe. He had a deep recession in his chest with every breath, and a strange sound coming from his throat. The nurses told me that this was quite common and it was caused by swelling in the throat from the ventilaror tube. His respiritory distress increased as the day went on. The doctors decided to re-tube him. He needed life support again...he was in a very bad way. They advised me not to be present during the procedure as it might be destressing to see. There was no way I was going to leave my baby. He needed me. He wasn't going to be alone during this.


" I want to be here for him."

I move back to give them room. It will be difficult because he is so tiny, and he has the swelling as well.


"I can't get it in. Quick...get a smaller tube. I CAN"T GET IT IN"


The doctors and nurses are calmly frantic. They are working around him. Something is so wrong. I know it. He was moved yesterday to this room. I heard a mother scream and cry and weep half the night as she lost her little one to heart failure in this room. I didn't want Jacob moved to this room...away from Maddie...all by himself...in THIS room. I walk to Maddie's room and walk in crazed circles.

"He's going to die. He's going to die." I nurse asks me what's wrong. I nearly vomit.I can't answer her. I rush back to Jacob's room. I can't see him. There are too many people around him. It's so crowded. I'm going to burst with fear. I can't breathe. they still can't get the tube in. They rush the crash cart into his room. He's stopped breathing. He's getting heart massage. My GOD...he's dead. I still can't see him. I see the doctor softly pump his body to keep Jacob's heart beating. I want to push them all out of the way and at the same time I want to run away from it. I do want to see him. They are all still blocking my view. He's my baby damn it! I try to see around them. I can't.


Raymond...where are you....I want you here...I need you here... I can't do this alone. I'm hyperventilating. I hear the fateful words..almost shouted by a doctor...."It's in...I got it in!"...The breathing tube was finally getting air into his lungs...

The doctor was very relieved. He had to use a much smaller tube than he would have liked. He had no choice though, as Jacob's throat was so swollen. He even said to me he was shitting himself...in those words...they are human after all...


I'll love that man forever...his name was Patrick.



Jacob was a very sick little boy, so I was advised to ring my husband to get him to come and support me. He arrived at 2.00am. we sat and watched Jacob for hours.



*****



Jacob's recovery, thankfully, came along nicely. He was soon off the ventilator for good. He would pull no more, well almost no more, surprises on us. What a little fighter...he was so clever.



*****


Maddie was tiny. Much smaller than Jacob , and the illness hit her much harder. She developed a pneumonia and sepsis, where bacteria infects the whole body. She was still in a critacal condition.


Maddie's eighth night on life support proved to be the toughest night of her, and my, life. She was so ill that she regressed to a nitric gas ventilator, which helps to open the lungs just that little bit more. She was slowly dying before my very eyes. Her sats were so low and dropping steadily. Her carbon dioxide levels in her blood were dangerously high. She was unable to be moved. Or even touched, as her sats would drop. Suctioning...a procedure that removed mucus from the tube and upper airways was out of the question. We had nearly lost Maddie on two previous suctioning episodes. The mucus needs to be removed from the tube so it doesn't block the air going into the lungs. If it blocks, she dies. I would try and be present for every suctioning. At this stage, Jacob was placed into a different ward, and it was very difficult trying to be in two places at once. If I was in with Jacob, I would insist upon a phone call, so I could attend Maddie's suctioning...I would run the 214 steps it took to get to ICU. I am sure I flew some days.


Maddie got so bad that they mentioned another sort of ventilator..the third one...that they may try basically as a last resort. It was an oscilating ventilator that basically shook a constant flow of air into the lungs. They weren't sure how she would react to it, so they were trying to avoid it. It could possibly kill her. Surely it wouldn't get to that...

At 5.00pm the doctoer said, "Let's do it!"


How can I say how I felt. To know your child was going to die. You can't even imagine what it's like, unless you have been through it yourself. I didn't cry...I had cried so much of their short lives. I think I had no more tears left. All I could do was stare in bewilderment. I was a zombie. I began to totally distance myself emotionally from her, even more so if that was possible.


Doctors, nurses and technicians were involved with the huge production of taking her off one ventilator and placing her on another. Raymond and I sat in chairs about three metres away from her bed, just holding hands...and watching. We looked at each other, unable to say a word...the tears began to flow...from both of us. I did have more tears after all....


Ok...people...here ends part 4...i am teary again and re-living it all over...It was such a painful thing to live through...







Here are a couple more photos of the beautiful babies who fought the battle of their life!!!




So...I'll give you a hint...Maddie made it...this is her a couple of days after her horibble night...she still looks very very sick, but believe me...she looks much better than what she did...


The healthier looking baby is jacob...he was very skinny, but in a normal ward....Aren't they beautiful....Jacob actually had another scary incident,,,some very silly nurse cut his nasal prong that delivered oxygen through his nose...because she didn't move it way from his nostril, when she cut it it flung up his nose and got lodged somewhere in his upper airways...that could have killed him...he had to have a small procedure to remove it...

Ok..until next time..catch you all soon..Hope you are enjoying this ...take care

Mandy

xxx